Ministry of Tribal Affairs to setup technology enabled classrooms in schools under the EMRS scheme

The government has decided to establish Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) in every block with 50% or more ST population and at least 20,000 tribal persons. A total number of 740 EMRSs are scheduled to be established across the country by the year 2025-26, out of which 690 schools have already been sanctioned and 401 EMRSs are reported to be functional. Since no block fulfills the criteria for the establishment of EMRS as per the schematic guidelines, no EMRSs have been sanctioned in the Hazaribagh and Ramgarh districts of Jharkhand, and Mumbai districts of Maharashtra.

Tribal Affairs Ministry in coordination with the National Education Society for Tribal Students (NESTS), an autonomous organization to manage and implement the scheme of EMRS, is continuously coordinating and following up with the State Governments to get suitable land free from all encumbrances, including forest clearance. States have been advised to run schools in alternative buildings preferably in Government Buildings till the construction of schools is completed.

The approved capital cost for the construction of EMRS is Rs.37.80 crores for plain areas which can go up to Rs. 48.00 crores in the case of Northeast, Hilly, and LWE affected areas. A recurring cost of Rs.1,09,000.00 per student per year is given to schools for running and managing the school. The fund is released to NESTS and NESTS further releases funds to States/ UTs/ PSUs/ Construction Agencies/ State Societies as per their requirements for the construction of EMRSs and recurring costs for running of the schools.

During the current financial year, i.e. 2022-23, Ministry has released an amount of Rs.1,465.27 crore to NESTS for implementation of the scheme of EMRS (as of 31.01.2023).

The government is sensitive about the country’s digital gap, especially among tribal children. To ensure digital connectivity, Ministry has planned to set up technology-enabled classrooms in coordination with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) through ERNET in 175 EMRSs, with a dedicated lease line through BSNL in phase-I.